by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
After much speculation leading to his departure from Pride, Mirko “Cro Cro” Filipovic made his highly anticipated UFC debut last Saturday. The 2006 Pride Open Weight Grand Prix Champion is currently ranked as the #2 heavyweight in the world, according to MMAWeekly. In a recent interview with Nokaut.com, Mirko spoke briefly about his octagon debut and revealed information about pre-fight injuries for the first time.
Mirko successfully made his octagon debut with a TKO victory over Eddie Sanchez in the first round. As “Cro Cop” made his anticipated entrance into the octagon, a familiar theme song could be heard; that tune was Pride’s Fighter theme which is used in the opening ceremonies of all their non-Bushido events. So why did Mirko use Pride’s theme as his entrance music? “I made that call because of reasons I’d like to keep to myself.”
After Mirko arrived home in Croatia, he spoke about his injuries for the first time. “A few minor injuries were troubling me, nothing too serious, but enough to distract my focus from the fight. I’ve had trouble with injuries for the past 20 days. This was one of the toughest fights for me because I had my left leg drained at Dr. Bucan’s clinic just 10 days ago. We considered canceling the fight; and, even Dr. Bucan suggested I should skip the fight,” revealed Mirko. “It was tough for me, not because of Eddie Sanchez, but because of all those injuries. I had problems with my left ankle and both shins; plus, the big toe on my right foot was swollen. Nothing too serious, but it ruined my focus on the fight; and, I felt really bad.”
Mirko’s acquisition bolstered the UFC’s barren heavyweight division. His initial entry has already made a big impact and it has been speculated that he’ll receive a shot at the heavyweight title in the near future. Mirko commented on when he thought he would contend for the heavyweight belt. “Third fight probably, or maybe even fourth. Against Sylvia or Couture, we’ll see,” said the former K-1 kickboxer.
After a successful 2006, the UFC looks to expand abroad and plans to hold an event in England this year. Mirko confirmed his next fight will be “in Manchester on April 20th. I don’t know who my next opponent will be yet.”